I've been reading a lot of contemporary romances lately. I think that's mostly because I have been in what feels like controlled chaos at work and have had to travel and work late hours. I feel like I want to pull my hair out with stress for the past few weeks. Stressful ranting aside, it took me a long time to get through Nightshade amid my work schedule and recent addiction to romance, but I'm so happy I read it. Nightshade pulled me head first back into the world of YA fiction and I'm excited for all of the awesome books coming out this year.
Nightshade is not your average werewolf story. Cal has always had her life planned out for her, and she's accepted it. She's the alpha of her pack and she is set to marry Ren, the sexy alpha of another pack in town. Once they are united, the two alphas and the newly formed pack will continue to stand guard over the sacred land of their master's, the Keepers. Everything changes when Cal breaks the cardinal rule of their world and saves a human. From that point on, all bets are off and Cal begins to realize that her perfectly structured world may be a sham and she learns that she doesn't want to just be a sheep following the heard.
I really enjoyed this book because it was so different and inventive. It did take me a while to get through the story, mostly because there is a lot of world building and information gathering. Even the slower information dumping was made okay by a stellar group of characters and an even better plot.
Calla was a fantastic female lead. Her character's loyalty and fierceness really brought the plot home for me. In Nightshade, we see Cal change before our eyes. At the beginning of the story, she is at peace with her future and betrothal. She leads her pack with a subtle grace and firm hand, never questioning her orders. As the story progresses, Calla begins to learn more about her society and questions the ideals of both her forefathers and her masters. I loved seeing Cal become her own woman. It was so interesting to see a person so sure of herself go from a confident leader following the heard to a fierce rebel. It was such a different take on the werewolf myth and I couldn't get enough of her!
The boys were very swoon worthy in Nightshade. Now I'm all for love triangles, but for the most part, it's easy for me to decide who I want the leading lady to chose. Nightshde's leading men gave me a run for my money. On the one hand, I loved Ren. He was everything a typical dominant male lead should be. He's got a tough guy, harsh exterior with a sensitive personality. Lacking his usual confidence when it comes to his lady love. Shay on the other hand is extremely intelligent, a rebel with a cause and willing to risk it all for Calla. Even now, especially after the epic ending, I'm not sure who I like best. Cremer gets an "A" in the love triangle department.
Nightshade's plot was pure gold. It's not often that I read a truly unique YA plot line. Typical plots follow the lines of one particular vampire series or are easily predictable. Cremer's storyline is inventive, exciting and plays heavily on deeply constructed historical myth.While some parts of the story are a little slower as Cal an Shay dive deeper into the Keeper's histories, it is well worth it as we are pulled further and further into the deception of Cal's world. All of the world building is well worth it as readers make it to the emotional, violent and telling end of the story. Let me tell you... Nightshade ends with a bang.
If you're going to read a wereworlf novel, definitely start with Nightshade While it's pacing was a little off at times, it's a story full of passion, excitement, and it's so hard to put down.
8 out of 10
Happy Reading :)